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October 30, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The recent thaw in U.S.-Venezuela relations, marked by a significant victory for Maria Corina Machado in the Venezuelan opposition primary and the easing of sanctions against the country’s oil, gas, and mining industries, is a complex development influenced by various geopolitical factors.


Role of Russia-Ukraine War:

Geopolitical Realities:

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine played a crucial role in reshaping geopolitical dynamics.

The Biden administration, responding to the energy crisis resulting from the conflict, engaged with Venezuela, home to the world’s largest oil reserves.

Regional Security Concerns:

There were concerns about regional security implications of Moscow’s support for its Latin American allies if a deeper conflict were to arise between the superpowers.

This added to the need for U.S.-Venezuela engagement.

Potential for Maduro’s Government:

End to Isolation:

The revival of ties with Washington presents President Nicolas Maduro with an opportunity to end his government’s international isolation.

The Trump administration had severed diplomatic relations with Venezuela, leading to severe economic challenges.

Economic Recovery:

The sanctions relief will allow Venezuela’s state-owned oil company to resume production and potentially regain access to U.S. financial markets, potentially aiding the country’s economic recovery.

Challenges and Uncertainties Ahead:

Fragmented Opposition: While the Venezuelan opposition has seen some successes, it remains highly fragmented. The recent primary had eight candidates, reflecting its divisions.

Humanitarian Crisis: President Maduro has faced international criticism for his autocratic rule and the humanitarian crisis that has led to a mass exodus of over seven million people. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating Venezuela for crimes against humanity.

Machado’s Disqualification: Maria Corina Machado, despite her strong showing in the primary, was disqualified from holding public office for 15 years due to allegations of corruption and support for American sanctions. Her candidacy in the next year’s contest remains uncertain.

Demands and Hardline Stance: Machado’s hardline approach, including demanding President Maduro’s trial for war crimes, supporting sanctions, and advocating foreign military intervention, might pose challenges to her candidacy.


While the U.S.-Venezuela thaw offers possibilities for diplomatic reengagement and economic recovery, many challenges persist. President Maduro’s willingness to embrace a competitive election, the fragmented opposition, and the humanitarian crisis need to be addressed for a sustainable path forward. The extent of sanctions relief will depend on the government’s progress towards democracy. Arresting Venezuela’s economic and political decline should be a top priority for the opposition.


October 30, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm